Crazy Impoverished Asians

Who knew that the most impoverished minority race group in King County (containing Seattle) are Asians? The number of Asians living under the federal poverty line is significantly greater than Latinos, Blacks, and Native Americans. I was surprised when looking at Census Bureau data from 2015-2018. Hover over and interact with this Tableau visualization or “viz” to see the numbers.

At the two Seattle Food Banks I visited, I noticed there were a considerable number of elderly Chinese folks. However, I found this result to be surprising!

Click on the preview image below to access the Tableau viz and stats.

As of now, WordPress doesn’t let fully embedded Tableau graphics onto posts.
WordPress, please get on this!


Low-income Luxury

Moving from Peru to the USA without a full-time salary has honed my radar for seeking help. There’s plenty of aid out there; its a matter of finding where and how to apply for it. This can be particularly tricky for newcomers that are figuring out how the American aid system works or have limited English skills.

Here’s a list of low-income aid in the Seattle, Washington area. Similar types of aid can be found in other cities/states too:

  • Washington Apple Health (Washington state’s free / low-cost healthcare, also called “Medicaid”. Coverage lasts from the date you are approved through October, within 1 calendar year.)
    • Sad note: non-US citizen Immigrants are ineligible within 5 years of entry to the U.S. to receive free healthcare, only a “low-cost” plan that costs $200+ per month.
      Dear readers: Do you know of any alternatives for this?
  • SNAP Food Assistance (Food Stamps)
    Part of “Washington Health Connection”, a group of aid programs.
    The online application is lengthy and this takes time to process (several weeks), but it’s worth it. Once approved, you can apply more easily to other programs like the Utility Discount Program and Internet Essentials.
    You receive a special debit card with a certain value based on your household size (approx $200 for a 2-person household) that can be used at certain grocery stores for certain items. Large groceries such as Safeway have price labels on the shelves indicating if the item is valid for “SNAP”. This restriction prevents users from abusing the system by buying “non-essential” food items such as alcohol / liquor.
  • Utility Discount Program for City of Seattle
    Save a certain % on your monthly electricity bill
  • (2) Internet Service Programs:
    1. Internet Essentials by Comcast – low-cost internet service, about $10/month no contract, 15mbps download and 2mbps upload speed.
      • Discount Computer/Laptops available too: approx $149 for a working, refurbished computer
    2. Lifeline Discount Program by Verizon Internet – $15/month no contract, 18mbps download speed.
  • Seattle Public Library Card: Create a library account for access to computers with internet, paid printing, piano practice rooms, and of course, books, movies, and more.
    • Don’t have a Washington address yet? The library offers a 30-day temporary card. Show proof of residence before the 30-day period ends (a piece of mail addressed to your name) and they will update your card to be permanent.
  • Food Banks receive donations from local grocery stores and offer free food at certain hours to anyone in the community. These are a wonderful way to get a week’s supply of food! Each food bank has their own set of qualifications. Check out their websites to find their hours of operation, usually during the daytime.
    • Food Bank @ St. Mary’s – Show any form of ID. (They offer many Trader Joes prepared food items!)
    • Queen Anne Food Bank – Show ID and proof of residency within certain Queen Anne zip codes. (When I went they had many products from Metropolitan Market, higher-end products such as guacamole, gluten-free pizza crust, non-dairy milk, etc)


  • Washington 2-1-1 – A broad search engine to find resources in your community
  • Q-Link Wireless – Receive a free smartphone and data/minutes plan. You can use your own phone and existing number. I haven’t personally applied for/used this because online reviews tend to be quite negative. Dear Readers – Does anyone have experience with this service?


Important Things To Do to get set up in the USA:

  • Get Visa to be in the U.S.
  • Get Social Security Number
    • It takes 24-48 hrs to generate the number; 2 weeks for the card. The card can be mailed to your home or picked up in person at a Federal social security office if you do not have a mailing address)
    • (the Social Security Number is like the USA’s version of a national ID number. It’s required for many processes, such as opening a bank account, applying for an apartment, applying for a job, etc. Its used to perform background checks.)
  • Apply for Health Insurance (this is federally required, and can be free) – Washington Apple Health
  • USPS Change of Address – this is the only to officially change your address in the U.S. system and is important to create proof of residency.
  • Set up Electricity Account with Seattle City Light once you move into a new home/apartment
  • Washington State ID or Drivers License: Used to prove Washington-state residency and to more easily apply for state benefits, jobs, etc. Necessary for voter registration.

The Seattle Public Library can give you a list of places offering Public Access to:

  • Computers/Internet/Wifi: Seattle Public Library
  • Printing (at a cost of some cents per page): Seattle Public Library, YMCA

I hope this can be of use to you. Feel free to comment on any other similar types of aid from the state/government/community which you’ve found to be helpful!